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RE: orion-list writing systems

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-----Original Message-----
From: Rochelle I. Altman [mailto:risa@mail.hol.gr]
Sent: Tuesday, August 17, 1999 7:58 AM
To: orion@mscc.huji.ac.il
Subject: Re: orion-list writing systems

Most un-Romantically, writing came about through trade:
the primary purpose of writing was -- and still is -- NOT to
communicate, but to control the word. The oldest extant examples
of writing are to control and prevent *fraud*.

An interesting sidelight to this discussion emerges in my recent reading on
the oracles of Apollo.  Robert Flaceliere suggests that in some cases
unscrupulous chresmologues forged or altered oracles and may have been
suspected of slipping their product into the temple archives.  Obviously the
possibility of fraud was a concern in the ancient world, and writing served
sacred and political (the use and abuse of the oracles) purposes as well as
economic ones.

David Suter
Saint Martin's College  
For private reply, e-mail to "Suter, David" <dsuter@stmartin.edu>
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